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Just Said Yes May 2017

Chicago Wedding under $15,000!!!! HELP

Christina, on March 30, 2016 at 3:55 PM Posted in Planning 1 33

We got engaged in Dec 2015 and planning our wedding in Spring or Summer 2017. We could get our guest list down to 70, but would be nice not to cut down under 100. We're footing the bill ourselves and I am finishing grad school so our total budget is only $15,000 (I can't believe I even have to say "only 15k"! Totally open to a Friday night wedding. I've looked at dozens of venues on line since we currently live in NYC (fiance from Chicago). I really don't care for the look of banquet halls or ballrooms. More into cool restaurants or lofts! But when I find a venue we like the catering is $$$! I'm trying to stay around 10K for the venue, food and bar, which is impossible to do in the Chicago/Chicago suburbs. Ok spending $15,000 all in (dress, dj, bridal flowers, venue, food, BYOB alcohol aka delivered from Binny's - preferred).....feeling really discouraged. Any help would be amazing!

33 Comments

Latest activity by Tanesha, on September 25, 2021 at 10:25 AM
  • FutureMilitaryWife (Jessica)
    Super November 2016
    FutureMilitaryWife (Jessica) ·
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    You're going to get torn apart for some of this

    These girls HATE BYOB alcohol.

    If you cannot properly host 100, do not invite 100. Cut costs where you can to properly host

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  • ChicagoJS
    Dedicated April 2017
    ChicagoJS ·
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    I've heard Ovations on the west side is pretty reasonable but still not sure if they can do 100 people for under $10,000. Loft spaces in the city are actually really expensive. For restaurants, I'd stay away from the big names in river north and west loop/Randolph street and look into neighborhood options. I know Salvatore's and Marcellos in Lincoln park both do weddings and I know someone who did a rehearsal dinner at Sapori Trattoria and the owners were super reasonable and flexible (plus their food is amazing). Also read good things about Mrs. Murphy and Sons.

    I know you said restaurants and lofts, but the Chicago park district also has really reasonable options that would be good for summer!

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  • ChicagoJS
    Dedicated April 2017
    ChicagoJS ·
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    Stan mansion is more a ballroom feel but allows you to bring in your own alcohol, which I think is what you are suggesting (not that the guests bring alcohol).

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  • Mrs. León
    VIP October 2015
    Mrs. León ·
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    Does it have to be in Chicago? Sometimes booking outside of the major city will cut the cost down.

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  • MrsMorales
    VIP September 2015
    MrsMorales ·
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    Stan Mansion is like 5k to rent without anything in it, so that's out.

    I would suggest looking wayyyy far into the suburbs at some of their country clubs like White Deer Run, The Arboretum, Lake in the Hills Country Club, The Gardens of Woodstock...

    Yon will not find anything but banquet halls in the city of Chicago for that price. The lofts that you like are between $2500 and $5k to rent and none of those places let you bring in your own alcohol (although BYOB is absolutely tacky).

    I would also look into public parks and forest preserves. Those places let you bring food and booze, but probably not the look you're going for.

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  • O
    Super April 2016
    Ostrich ·
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    I hope you mean the restaurant is BYOB and you'll be supplying the alcohol. I hope you DON'T mean your guests bring the alcohol...

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  • Courtney N.
    Super May 2017
    Courtney N. ·
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    I'm in the Chicagoland area and I can almost guarantee that any loft like venues downtown will cost you a pretty penny (since that's a trend on the rise). There are plenty of venues outside the city (hello suburbs!) that can probably fit your budget just as nicely.

    We are hosting 200 people on a budget of $20k, and our venue is about 25 minutes from the city so at 100 people or less I would argue it's definitely doable.

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  • Alia
    Dedicated May 2017
    Alia ·
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    I am having my wedding in the suburbs of Chicago for this same budget so it is possible!! I am hosting a wedding (ceremony and reception) for 100 people with open bar for $8000. This includes everything except for DJ, flowers and photographer. Our venue is an upscale bowling alley and the cost also includes gaming for a couple hours during cocktail hour and after all the traditional things at the reception. That being said, I am having a Sunday afternoon wedding which really cut down costs (saved about $5000).

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  • Alia
    Dedicated May 2017
    Alia ·
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    Also if are into lofts, there were a couple of cool options on Airbnb that you can rent out for weddings

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  • MrsMorales
    VIP September 2015
    MrsMorales ·
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    Its definitely possible...but not in downtown Chicago.

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  • Sangele
    Master April 2016
    Sangele ·
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    I'm getting married in Woodridge at a golf club. I was able to get off season pricing in April. I have to meet an 8K minimum and the venue supplies pretty much everything....5 hour open bar, appetizers, plated meal, cake, linens, chairs, and small flower arrangement for the tables. For 10k in prime wedding season, you will have to look outside of Chicago.

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  • Lolerskates84
    Super August 2016
    Lolerskates84 ·
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    When I was searching I found that most "reasonable" restaurants are going to be around $85-$100/person before taxes and gratuity (Salvatores, Maggianos, Zias, Pazzos, etc.) if you want to stay in the city, and by that I'm not necessarily talking downtown I'm also including other neighborhoods like Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, etc. Add 30-ish percent for tax/gratuity (sometimes more). My guest list was a lot larger so Idk about smaller restaurants, I didn't look into those since they didn't meet my needs.

    We almost booked at Peckish Pig, which I believe is a $10k min for Fridays (15k for Saturdays). It's in Evanston and a very cool space IMO. They have large events once a month and were pretty available. They neighborhood is slightly shady, though, but they offer Valet for $7/car (or something like that) so your guests won;t have to walk at night.

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  • Mrs. Winosaurusrex
    Master June 2016
    Mrs. Winosaurusrex ·
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    Pretty sure this isn't like a kegger, more like purchase and provide it for the bar tender.

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  • Sangele
    Master April 2016
    Sangele ·
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    One of my favorite brunch places in Lakeview is Zia' Lago Vista. They have hosted weddings before, but I don't know how much it costs. The food is delicious (I have also gone for dinner) and FREE valet parking!

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  • Natalie
    Master September 2016
    Natalie ·
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    Okay here are my thoughts...I live in the heart of the city here in Chicago and I have read that this is the most expensive City to get married in. I am originally from St. Louis, MO so will be having the wedding there which is much cheaper, but still a pretty penny. Maybe think about doing it outside of the city.

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  • Shayna
    Super June 2016
    Shayna ·
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    Seriously people? What's tacky is always assuming the worst in people. Of course she means a place where she can bring in booze to serve to her guests, not purchased through the venue. Not that the guests will bring their own.

    OP - check out the Redfield Grove Estate in Glenview. It's an old house with an outdoor pavilion. I think it is about 3k to rent but you can BYOB and their list of approved caterers has some reasonably priced vendors. We would have had our reception there but our list is more than 100 which is their absolute max. We ended up at the Morton Grove Civic Center. Probably not your taste but is only like $1500 to rent, can bring in any caterer (no cooking on site though) and can BYOB.

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  • Lolerskates84
    Super August 2016
    Lolerskates84 ·
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    Zia's quoted me $95/person before taxes/fees/gratuity. That might be over budget for 100 people.

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  • MrsMorales
    VIP September 2015
    MrsMorales ·
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    I got married at the Lehmann Mansion in Lake Villa-- 150 person minimum, about $150/head for food/alcohol. They have an exclusive caterer.

    Unfortunately, most venues do have exclusive rights to their premier vendors.

    There's a really neat banquet hall (that doesn't look like a banquet hall) in Des Plaines near the airport. I think its called Cava la Cave? I looked there and the packages were amazing for the price

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  • Shayna
    Super June 2016
    Shayna ·
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    ^ Cafe La Cave!

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  • aCursiveLine
    Dedicated November 2016
    aCursiveLine ·
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    Are you talking about the City of Chicago, or the "greater Chicago area"? Lots of us from Chicagoland just say we're from Chicago because we're in the metropolitan area, but I'm like an hour outside the city. It can be much cheaper in the suburbs.

    We also felt strongly about not having our wedding at a hotel or country club. We found an Irish pub in the suburbs (near where I already live) that is letting us rent out the entire place including food and open bar for up to 150 guests for $10k (pre-tax and gratuity). This particular place also has the option of using one area of the restaurant (the most private room seats ~75) with no rental fee and just the cost of food (cheapest menu being $18/person dinner, $15/person lunch). I don't know how much the bar packages cost, but it would be well under $10k for 100 guests.

    It can be done... you just have to really search.

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